Sir George spent half an hour with Nick Woodford, Chairman of Andover Athletics Club at the Charlton Leisure Centre, watching members train and meeting the coaches.
"The object of my visit was to publicise a scheme for helping Community Sports Clubs, such as Andover Athletics."
"Sports Clubs like this one play a vital role in Andover, keeping people of all ages active and creating a valuable sense of community. The oldest member is 71, and the youngest is 9. Membership of a sports club can improve one's quality of life."
"But many struggle to make ends meet, and the Central Council for Physical Recreation has asked MP's to publicise a scheme operated by HM Revenue & Customs, called the Community Amateur Sports Club Scheme. Membership of this CASC scheme provides clubs with a variety of tax concessions, including 80% rate relief and eligibility for Gift Aid. Only 10% of eligible clubs are registered, which means that £60m is being lost to the sporting community.More information can be found on the link below"
Sir George said he was enormously impressed by the commitment of the coaches that he met, and by the high morale of the members. "Sarah Holliday will be running competitively after Christmas and is training really hard; and Phil Berntsen has put in the sixth fastest time for his distance this year in his age group - and will be reaching his peak performance at about the time of the next Olympics."
Sir George discussed with Nick Woodford the Club's aspirations for larger premises, so members could be accommodated when it rained and there was somewhere for parents to congregate at the beginning and end of each training session.
He was presented with a silver salver to commemorate his visit. "This was really generous of the Club - a happy memory of my visit - and I hope to go back"